Suddenly, everybody’s an environment reporter.
I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the first landfall for the Great Spill⎯other than Alabama and Louisiana, which are already covered by the media like beach tar⎯happens to be Key West.
If a tar ball had turned up on the shores of Duluth, MN, one has to wonder whether hordes of media would have materialized to interview it in the same way they descended upon the Conch Republic, showering the bars and restaurants on Duval Street with their per diems.
As it happens, the tar balls weren’t from the Gulf slick anyway, but that wasn’t enough to halt the stampede.
The Key West overkill is simply a manifestation of two cardinal rules of news coverage: First, if you see a pack of journalists gathering somewhere, you’d better join it or you might lose out on a story. Second, if there’s any possible way to justify a junket⎯particularly to a resort⎯then it’s the responsibility of any self-respecting reporter to make the case.
The real slick is due in Key West in about a week. No doubt there are a few courageous members of the fifth estate who are busy convincing their editors they need to remain on site--tough as that might be--and wait it out.